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What is prison really like?


What is prison really like?

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dedalus
dedalus
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Hello,
Prisons seem to be in the press quite a lot nowdays. There are those who argue that prisons are too easy and others who argue that
they do not rehabilitate, are full of bullying and assaults.
As someone who has never been to prison I wonder where the truth is. TV dramas always depict prisons as violent places where your
life is always at risk yet I would guess most people think prisons are too easy nowdays.

I was wondering if any member of the forum had been to prison  and what their experienwe of this was.

Regards,

D
tedstriker
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dedalus - 1 Feb 22 8:47 AM
Hello,
Prisons seem to be in the press quite a lot nowdays. There are those who argue that prisons are too easy and others who argue that
they do not rehabilitate, are full of bullying and assaults.
As someone who has never been to prison I wonder where the truth is. TV dramas always depict prisons as violent places where your
life is always at risk yet I would guess most people think prisons are too easy nowdays.

I was wondering if any member of the forum had been to prison  and what their experienwe of this was.

Regards,

D

Afraid so. The whole experience is terrifying but once there you settle into a trance and just try to get through day by day. It's a deeply undignifying time where you have to do things you're hugely uncomfortable with.

On my first night the guy in the cell opposite hung himself. You are surrounded by people who no doubt have committed abhorrent crimes (along with yourself obviously) but you need to just keep your head down, make friends where you can and get through it.

Boredom was the worst thing for me but partly resolved by being given a purpose when I got a job on the bakery in the kitchen. The guy in charge of us there was an absolute star and the only person in my entire time there to treat me like a human and make me feel like I had some self worth.

Rehabilitation in there was non existent. If it did exist for others it was solely going through the motions.
AB2014
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tedstriker - 1 Feb 22 12:36 PM
dedalus - 1 Feb 22 8:47 AM
Hello,
Prisons seem to be in the press quite a lot nowdays. There are those who argue that prisons are too easy and others who argue that
they do not rehabilitate, are full of bullying and assaults.
As someone who has never been to prison I wonder where the truth is. TV dramas always depict prisons as violent places where your
life is always at risk yet I would guess most people think prisons are too easy nowdays.

I was wondering if any member of the forum had been to prison  and what their experienwe of this was.

Regards,

D

Afraid so. The whole experience is terrifying but once there you settle into a trance and just try to get through day by day. It's a deeply undignifying time where you have to do things you're hugely uncomfortable with.

On my first night the guy in the cell opposite hung himself. You are surrounded by people who no doubt have committed abhorrent crimes (along with yourself obviously) but you need to just keep your head down, make friends where you can and get through it.

Boredom was the worst thing for me but partly resolved by being given a purpose when I got a job on the bakery in the kitchen. The guy in charge of us there was an absolute star and the only person in my entire time there to treat me like a human and make me feel like I had some self worth.

Rehabilitation in there was non existent. If it did exist for others it was solely going through the motions.

I haven't been in since late 2014, and I'm guessing things haven't got any better. They actually got worse while I was in, due in no small part to Failing Grayling and his madcap plans. Each prison and each wing can be different, and I saw some violence, but heard about more from eye-witnesses. The main problem for me was boredom, so getting out of your cell to work instead of being banged up makes a difference. If you can work longer hours, such as in the kitchen or staff mess, that's even better, as it also tires you out. Staying in your cell with strangers who might or might not tolerate you isn't easy, but you tend to find ways to get along.

Much is said about rehabilitation, but the prison system just tries to break you down so that probation can do the rehabilitation stuff. I've seen documentaries about prison and probation, which were reasonably accurate, but the dramas tend to be rubbish. I stopped watching Screw after about five minutes.

=========================================================================================================

Robert Lightfoot, former head of NASA, said it succinctly in his parting speech in April 2018: Protecting against risk and being safe are not the same thing ... [W]e must move from risk management to risk leadership. From a risk management perspective, the safest place to be is on the ground. From a risk leadership perspective, I believe thats the worst place [we] can be.

dedalus
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AB2014 - 1 Feb 22 2:57 PM
tedstriker - 1 Feb 22 12:36 PM
dedalus - 1 Feb 22 8:47 AM
Hello,
Prisons seem to be in the press quite a lot nowdays. There are those who argue that prisons are too easy and others who argue that
they do not rehabilitate, are full of bullying and assaults.
As someone who has never been to prison I wonder where the truth is. TV dramas always depict prisons as violent places where your
life is always at risk yet I would guess most people think prisons are too easy nowdays.

I was wondering if any member of the forum had been to prison  and what their experienwe of this was.

Regards,

D

Afraid so. The whole experience is terrifying but once there you settle into a trance and just try to get through day by day. It's a deeply undignifying time where you have to do things you're hugely uncomfortable with.

On my first night the guy in the cell opposite hung himself. You are surrounded by people who no doubt have committed abhorrent crimes (along with yourself obviously) but you need to just keep your head down, make friends where you can and get through it.

Boredom was the worst thing for me but partly resolved by being given a purpose when I got a job on the bakery in the kitchen. The guy in charge of us there was an absolute star and the only person in my entire time there to treat me like a human and make me feel like I had some self worth.

Rehabilitation in there was non existent. If it did exist for others it was solely going through the motions.

I haven't been in since late 2014, and I'm guessing things haven't got any better. They actually got worse while I was in, due in no small part to Failing Grayling and his madcap plans. Each prison and each wing can be different, and I saw some violence, but heard about more from eye-witnesses. The main problem for me was boredom, so getting out of your cell to work instead of being banged up makes a difference. If you can work longer hours, such as in the kitchen or staff mess, that's even better, as it also tires you out. Staying in your cell with strangers who might or might not tolerate you isn't easy, but you tend to find ways to get along.

Much is said about rehabilitation, but the prison system just tries to break you down so that probation can do the rehabilitation stuff. I've seen documentaries about prison and probation, which were reasonably accurate, but the dramas tend to be rubbish. I stopped watching Screw after about five minutes.

Hi where you personally at risk of any violence at all?
Is the noise really bad at night?
AB2014
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dedalus - 1 Feb 22 5:40 PM
AB2014 - 1 Feb 22 2:57 PM
tedstriker - 1 Feb 22 12:36 PM
dedalus - 1 Feb 22 8:47 AM
Hello,
Prisons seem to be in the press quite a lot nowdays. There are those who argue that prisons are too easy and others who argue that
they do not rehabilitate, are full of bullying and assaults.
As someone who has never been to prison I wonder where the truth is. TV dramas always depict prisons as violent places where your
life is always at risk yet I would guess most people think prisons are too easy nowdays.

I was wondering if any member of the forum had been to prison  and what their experienwe of this was.

Regards,

D

Afraid so. The whole experience is terrifying but once there you settle into a trance and just try to get through day by day. It's a deeply undignifying time where you have to do things you're hugely uncomfortable with.

On my first night the guy in the cell opposite hung himself. You are surrounded by people who no doubt have committed abhorrent crimes (along with yourself obviously) but you need to just keep your head down, make friends where you can and get through it.

Boredom was the worst thing for me but partly resolved by being given a purpose when I got a job on the bakery in the kitchen. The guy in charge of us there was an absolute star and the only person in my entire time there to treat me like a human and make me feel like I had some self worth.

Rehabilitation in there was non existent. If it did exist for others it was solely going through the motions.

I haven't been in since late 2014, and I'm guessing things haven't got any better. They actually got worse while I was in, due in no small part to Failing Grayling and his madcap plans. Each prison and each wing can be different, and I saw some violence, but heard about more from eye-witnesses. The main problem for me was boredom, so getting out of your cell to work instead of being banged up makes a difference. If you can work longer hours, such as in the kitchen or staff mess, that's even better, as it also tires you out. Staying in your cell with strangers who might or might not tolerate you isn't easy, but you tend to find ways to get along.

Much is said about rehabilitation, but the prison system just tries to break you down so that probation can do the rehabilitation stuff. I've seen documentaries about prison and probation, which were reasonably accurate, but the dramas tend to be rubbish. I stopped watching Screw after about five minutes.

Hi where you personally at risk of any violence at all?
Is the noise really bad at night?

I never felt threatened, but then I was aware of what was going on around me. I made it clear that I had nothing worth stealing (no tobacco, no coffe, no chocolate), so I generally stayed under the radar. Each wing is different for noise. Some people like to shout out of their window at night, some people have mental health issues, some like to have their TV or stereo on at full volume. Generally, those people weren't near me, so it never really affected me at night. During the day, I just didn't care what other people did.

=========================================================================================================

Robert Lightfoot, former head of NASA, said it succinctly in his parting speech in April 2018: Protecting against risk and being safe are not the same thing ... [W]e must move from risk management to risk leadership. From a risk management perspective, the safest place to be is on the ground. From a risk leadership perspective, I believe thats the worst place [we] can be.

punter99
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Prison dramas never show the boredom, because there is no 'entertainment' for an audience, in watching someone sat in a cell for 23 hrs, with nothing to do.

This practice, of locking prisoners in their cells for long periods, appears to have worsened over the last few years, partly due to staff shortages and partly because of covid.

To reduce spread of the virus, prisons cancelled almost all meaningful activities, including visits from friends and family. Locking prisoners up for 23 hours a day, became the norm. Many people were not allowed out, even to take a shower.

But then the authorities noticed something. The number of assaults on staff, and on prisoners, which had been going up and up, began to drop significantly. Because prisoners were not mixing, there was less disruption and prisons were easier to manage, which was seen as good news, given that low staff numbers had previously made prisons a lot less safe.

So some bright spark at the Home Office, proposed keeping the prisoners locked up for 23 hours a day, even after the pandemic was over and there was no issue with covid anymore. It makes prisons appear to be safer, but of course it comes at a cost. Mental health issues will get worse. Incidents of self harm will increase. Drug use will become even more widespread, as prisoners try to escape the boredom. Plus, with no 'purposeful activity' for prisoners to do, the chances of them being rehabilitated will diminish.
dedalus
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punter99 - 3 Feb 22 11:53 AM
Prison dramas never show the boredom, because there is no 'entertainment' for an audience, in watching someone sat in a cell for 23 hrs, with nothing to do.

This practice, of locking prisoners in their cells for long periods, appears to have worsened over the last few years, partly due to staff shortages and partly because of covid.

To reduce spread of the virus, prisons cancelled almost all meaningful activities, including visits from friends and family. Locking prisoners up for 23 hours a day, became the norm. Many people were not allowed out, even to take a shower.

But then the authorities noticed something. The number of assaults on staff, and on prisoners, which had been going up and up, began to drop significantly. Because prisoners were not mixing, there was less disruption and prisons were easier to manage, which was seen as good news, given that low staff numbers had previously made prisons a lot less safe.

So some bright spark at the Home Office, proposed keeping the prisoners locked up for 23 hours a day, even after the pandemic was over and there was no issue with covid anymore. It makes prisons appear to be safer, but of course it comes at a cost. Mental health issues will get worse. Incidents of self harm will increase. Drug use will become even more widespread, as prisoners try to escape the boredom. Plus, with no 'purposeful activity' for prisoners to do, the chances of them being rehabilitated will diminish.

One thing I always wondered is if it was true about being locked up in the cell for 23 hours a day.
In this scenario what time would one be able to access the exercise yard or the gym for example?
AB2014
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dedalus - 3 Feb 22 12:55 PM
punter99 - 3 Feb 22 11:53 AM
Prison dramas never show the boredom, because there is no 'entertainment' for an audience, in watching someone sat in a cell for 23 hrs, with nothing to do.

This practice, of locking prisoners in their cells for long periods, appears to have worsened over the last few years, partly due to staff shortages and partly because of covid.

To reduce spread of the virus, prisons cancelled almost all meaningful activities, including visits from friends and family. Locking prisoners up for 23 hours a day, became the norm. Many people were not allowed out, even to take a shower.

But then the authorities noticed something. The number of assaults on staff, and on prisoners, which had been going up and up, began to drop significantly. Because prisoners were not mixing, there was less disruption and prisons were easier to manage, which was seen as good news, given that low staff numbers had previously made prisons a lot less safe.

So some bright spark at the Home Office, proposed keeping the prisoners locked up for 23 hours a day, even after the pandemic was over and there was no issue with covid anymore. It makes prisons appear to be safer, but of course it comes at a cost. Mental health issues will get worse. Incidents of self harm will increase. Drug use will become even more widespread, as prisoners try to escape the boredom. Plus, with no 'purposeful activity' for prisoners to do, the chances of them being rehabilitated will diminish.

One thing I always wondered is if it was true about being locked up in the cell for 23 hours a day.
In this scenario what time would one be able to access the exercise yard or the gym for example?

Probably not. That one hour includes all the things you would normally take for granted, like taking a shower, posting a letter, or even making a phone call if you're not in one of the more modern prisons with a phone in your cell. If you want to make an application for something, that is also included. If you also have to go to the servery to collect your food, that is included. You might have time to get outside for exercise, if it's on offer, but not much time left for gym, so it's like every prisoner in the country was suddenly put on the Basic regime for punishment. Indefinitely. You'd be treated better than that if you started a fight in front of staff. Let's hope that as the free world emerges from all these lockdowns, the incarcerated world can follow suit.

=========================================================================================================

Robert Lightfoot, former head of NASA, said it succinctly in his parting speech in April 2018: Protecting against risk and being safe are not the same thing ... [W]e must move from risk management to risk leadership. From a risk management perspective, the safest place to be is on the ground. From a risk leadership perspective, I believe thats the worst place [we] can be.

punter99
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You might think, that the prisoners would be really angry about being locked up for so long, but anecdotal evidence suggests that they were actually very grateful to the prison, for 'protecting' them from covid.
AB2014
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punter99 - 4 Feb 22 2:34 PM
You might think, that the prisoners would be really angry about being locked up for so long, but anecdotal evidence suggests that they were actually very grateful to the prison, for 'protecting' them from covid.

Or so we're told, anyway.

=========================================================================================================

Robert Lightfoot, former head of NASA, said it succinctly in his parting speech in April 2018: Protecting against risk and being safe are not the same thing ... [W]e must move from risk management to risk leadership. From a risk management perspective, the safest place to be is on the ground. From a risk leadership perspective, I believe thats the worst place [we] can be.

GO


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